Saturday, February 19, 2011

Southern Fried Valentine's

So this past week we all celebrated Valentine's Day, right? Some of us went out to a fancy restaurant, others preferred McD's, while others cooked a romantic dinner and still others had a meal prepared for them. Well, as Valentine's Day fell on a week day we decided to wait until the weekend for our annual Olive Garden outing. [Matt's not a fan so that's the only time I get to go. Lol. But seriously though, how can someone not like spaghetti??] Anyway, so on the actual day, we decided to cook a meal together. Now, when we think of a typical romantic meal we think of what? Steak and baked potato? Chicken Alfredo? Pot Roast? Oh no, we had Fried Chicken, Fried Potatoes, and garlic cheddar biscuits. Southern Fried Valentine's! But that's what Matt requested, so that's what we had. Not that I would said no to fried chicken any way. You can blame that on my mother and grandmother, who gave me and Heather the love for some good ol' KFC! Which means, I must tell the story of when Heather was sick and Mom had to take her to the emergency room. So Matt and I rushed down to see her in the hospital and as sick as she was and couldn't hold down nothing and was as pale as a ghost, all she kept asking me for was to get over to KFC before they closed and get her some mashed potatoes and gravy. Good food can fix anything. Lol. Now, back to dinner. We did tweak our recipes some from the typical. And since Matt made the chicken, it wasn't really 100% from scratch but he did do a fantastic job. To batter our chicken, we just cut it up in to small strips, dipped it in egg, and then in Uncle Buck's Chicken Fry Mix. They sell it at Bass Pro. It is kinda spicy, but is so delicious. Then, so that it was "healthier" we baked it instead of frying it. It was very simple and turned out great. 

Now, for the fried potatoes. Fried potatoes are pretty simple to make, but can be difficult to get crispy without burning. I melted a few tablespoons of butter in a skillet. Then peeled and sliced my potatoes then. Then, I put them in the skillet, poured a small amount of olive oil over the top and sprinkled with salt, pepper, minced garlic and minced onion. [I buy my spices at the Amish Store here in Branson and you can tell they are fresh and have the best flavor.] It's all about finding the right temperature to cook at. Not too hot that they stick and burn, but not to low that they take forever and get mushy. A delicious variation is to sprinkle your favorite variety of shredded cheese and crumbled [cooked] bacon over the top just a few minutes before taking out of the pan, just long enough to melt your cheese. And Voila, Loaded Fried Potatoes! Now for those garlic cheddar biscuits [also known as Red Lobster biscuits]. Here is a very simple recipe for them:

2 cups buttermilk baking mix
2/3 cup milk
1 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 tsp garlic salt

Thoroughly stir milk into baking mix. Then, incorporate the cheese into the dough. Now scoop dough into spoonfuls and put onto a greased cookie sheet or a sheet covered in aluminum foil, I find this works best. Melt the butter into a liquid, stir on the garlic salt, and brush over the top of biscuits. Bake at 400 degrees until tops brown and they are not doughy. Should be around 8-10 minutes. Make 6-10 biscuits depending on the size you make them.

[The key to this recipe is to make sure you use Buttermilk baking mix. It is a little harder to find, it will not taste very good if you use regular baking mix.]

If you want an easier biscuit, Wal-Mart now sells a mix that only requires water mixed in. It's called Bisquick Complete Garlic-Cheddar Biscuit Mix. It is very scrumptious.  

Now for dessert. I almost forgot about dessert. I don't have any idea how that almost happened! Like I said before Matt loves anything chocolate and a few months ago I introduced him to Nutella. Now if you haven't had Nutella, I recommend you make a special trip to the store right now and get yourself a jar. Or at least put it on your shopping list for next time. For those of you who some how don't know what it is:  it is comparable to peanut butter but flavored like chocolate and hazelnuts. [Yes, Heather I know you are cracking a joke about hazelnuts [nasalnuts] right about now.] So, I have been trying to come up with recipes that I can use Nutella in.
My first experiment was Nutella No Bake Cookies:

2 1/2 or 3 cups sugar
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup Nutella OR Peanut Butter
4 1/2 cups quick-cooking oats

In large sauce pan, combine sugar, butter, & milk. 
Bring to rapid boil for 1 to 2 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and Nutella OR Peanut Butter.
Mix in oats, stirring until mixture just begins to cool.
Drop batter by spoonfuls onto wax paper.
You can see that Matt has already been stealing cookies :]

They turned out great but did not have strong Nutella flavor like I had hoped. They kind of taste like plain chocolate no bakes. Next time I am going to try mixing chopped hazelnuts into the batter. Any suggestions?

Well, I wish everyone a safe, wonderful week and Happy Cooking!
Tidbit for the Week:
Mise en place:
[MEEZ ahn plahs]
A French term referring to having all the ingredients necessary for a dish prepared and ready to combine up to the point of cooking.

1 comment:

  1. Love it, love the stories along with the recipes. I do know why they are called nasalnuts, cause I was there when the nut went into the nose hole. lol Look forward to more posts from you, I really enjoy the good information. I have made the biscuits before and usually, when done baking and still warm I brush the melted butter (real) on top with garlic and some chives for pretty. Sooo Good!!!
    Love YOu!